COVID-19 News

South Korea’s Lotteria burger chain seeking potato suppliers ‘other than U.S.’ due to supply chain frustrations

McDonald’s Korea and Lotteria are suffering from frozen potato shortages, scrambling to replace their French fries with chicken nuggets or cheese sticks due to supply chain problems amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Lotte GRS, operator of Lotteria, reportedly said it is seeking other global potato suppliers instead of the U.S., where the fast food franchise imports most of its frozen potatoes from.

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Singapore hit by french fry shortage amid global disruption

Southeast Asian fast-food chains are being hit by a shortage of French fries as supply-chain snarls slow shipments of the frozen item from the U.S. and Europe. Signs at some of Yum! Brands Inc.’s KFC outlets in Singapore informed customers that the company would replace side orders of fries with potato waffles due to a “global supply disruption.”

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As McDonald’s Japan restricts French fry sales, rival boosts fry sizes by 25 percent

In December, McDonald’s Japan announced that it would be suspending sales of all French fry orders except smalls due to a potato shortage. Now, rival Japanese fast food chain Freshness Burger announced it will be increasing the amount of French fires in its regular and large-size orders, as well as its combo meals, by 25 percent and without increasing the price.

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Opinion: China’s ‘new money’ is the potato, thanks to COVID

“The Digital Yuan is no longer relevant. A new currency has been adopted by the People’s Republic of China. The Potato is its name,” writes Jeff Salle in an opinion piece published by CengNews. Salle writes that according to Charles Burton, a China watcher at the Macdonald-Laurier Institute, university students in Xian prefer to pay for tutoring with potatoes rather than cash. Do you need cotton swabs in that 13-million-strong city in central China? The currency is potatoes.

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KFC Kenya runs out of imported fries, now considers local suppliers ‘who meet standards’

Fast food chain KFC has suffered a shortage of French fries at its outlets in Kenya following delays in delivery from its overseas suppliers, forcing it to offer customers alternative food items in place of French fries. The company at first said it does not source potatoes for fries from local suppliers due to ‘global quality standards’, but then said on Tuesday this might happen ‘in the near future’.

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Albert Bartlett grows profits amid challenging conditions

Scottish potato specialist Albert Bartlett has underlined the challenges posed by Brexit and cost inflation amid the continued fallout from the pandemic after enjoying a surge in profits. The privately-owned firm grew turnover to £193.7m in the latest year, from £177.2m.

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KFC in Japan suspends sale of fries due to import problems

Japan KFC Holdings announced on October 8 that Kentucky French fries and other potato products are temporarily suspended for sale. KFC says in the notice: “Currently, imports of goods are delayed due to the disruption of the global distribution network due to the effects of the new coronavirus infection. Therefore, ‘potato’ may be temporarily suspended at some stores.”

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Lamb Weston’s top and bottom lines heading in different directions

Lamb Weston Holdings, Inc.’s top and bottom lines headed in different directions during the first quarter of fiscal 2022. Sales rose 13% as foodservice and institutional businesses recovered around the world, but the company’s net income fell 67% for the quarter. “In the US, we continue to be encouraged by the pace of recovery in restaurant traffic and demand for fries,” Thomas P. Werner, president and chief executive officer said.

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Simplot to compensate Tasmanian potato growers on the back of ‘volatile’ year

It’s a risky crop, but Sisters Creek potato farmer Leigh Elphinstone in Tasmania wouldn’t have it any other way, reports Meg Powell in this news story for The Advocate. And the multi-generational farmer’s passion for the simple spud seems to have paid off, helping secure growers like himself an additional $9 a tonne deal with major food manufacturer Simplot over the coming financial year.

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Potato scheme ‘will be well received’ by growers in Northern Ireland

The Ulster Farmers’ Union (UFU) has welcomed the recent announcement by Agriculture Minister Edwin Poots, regarding a further coronavirus (COVID-19) support scheme worth up to £2million for farmers growing potatoes for the processing supply chain. UFU deputy president William Irvine said: “The news of further COVID-19 support for the processing potato sector will be well received by our members.

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Potato growers in Northern Ireland to receive more Covid support funds

A further Covid-19 support scheme worth up to £2 million for Northern Ireland farmers growing potatoes for the processing supply chain has been announced. The financial support package comes in response to the significant reduction in demand for potatoes from the hospitality and food service sector. Growers who still have quantities of unsold potatoes in their stores, which were destined for the potato processing supply chain, can apply.

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Lamb Weston posted ‘robust’ fiscal results, expects demand for fries to return to pre-pandemic levels

Lamb Weston Holdings posted robust fourth-quarter fiscal 2021 results, as both top and bottom lines increased year over year. Results were largely aided by demand recovery for frozen potato products, with curbs being lifted and restaurant traffic improving. Demand in Europe and key export markets is likely to improve with the increased availability of vaccines in the regions.

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Viewpoint: ‘How COVID has altered the future of US agriculture and the role of biotechnology’

The past year has been a doozy. Being locked up for a year and watching half a million Americans die was traumatizing. In the most productive agricultural country in the world, millions of people lined up for food and many Americans died because Covid preferentially attacks people with pre-existing conditions like obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart disease. So says Jim Budzynski in an article published by Genetic Literacy Project.

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NPC President: Hoping for foodservice to open up, having live conversations with growers

Nearly halfway through his national potato council presidency, Dominic Lajoie spoke to Newssource8′s Rhian Lowndes about how things are going in this week’s County Ag. “The Delta variant and spikes across the country, it’s concerning,” he says. “We definitely want our schools open, our universities open, our restaurants fully open. You know food service is a big part of the potato industry. If those markets aren’t developed back to where they were, we’re gonna feel a lot more pain.”

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Annual Report: McCain Foods in Britain impacted by pandemic and poor potato crop

McCain Foods (GB) Ltd is a leading manufacturer of frozen potato products in Great Britain. The company this week released its “Annual Report and Unaudited Financial Statements for the Financial Year ended June 2020”. According to the annual report, McCain saw drop in annual sales and fell to a loss last year as Covid hit its out of home sales and it suffered from a poor potato crop.

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Turning the page on 2020 good for potato growers, says industry leader

2021 is a new year for potato growers, and that’s a good thing. “Most growers are pretty happy to have last year behind them,” said Mark Klompien, president and CEO of the United Potato Growers of America. Challenges of the COVID-10 pandemic for growers included the ups and downs of the demand side of the equation, both in the fresh and processed sectors.

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Pandemic impact: Home consumption of fresh potatoes in Belgium increased by eight percent

Potatoes are the top side dish in Belgium. On an average day in 2020, 41% of Belgians ate these (incl. fries). A lot of people were already eating potatoes at home. But, due to COVID-19 and its related measures, that rose in 2020. That’s according to a Flemish Agri and Fisheries Marketing Center (VLAM) press release. In 2020, home consumption of fresh potatoes increased by eight percent. That ended the downward trend in in-home consumption.

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£2 million pandemic support package for potato growers in Northern Ireland

New details of a £2 million Covid-19 support scheme for potato growers in Northern Ireland impacted by the pandemic has been announced. They must complete an online Expression of Interest form by 11 June to register for the scheme and request an inspection of all potatoes held in their stores. The financial support package comes in response to the significant reduction in demand for potatoes from the hospitality and food service sector.

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Frito-Lay consumer snacking poll: Memorial Day kicks off an anticipated ‘breakout summer’

Memorial Day on May 31 in the US is expected to kick off an anticipated ‘breakout summer’ as consumers catch up on activities they missed out on last year, and however and wherever consumers are celebrating, snacks will be plentiful, Frito-Lay says in a press release. Frito-Lay’s latest U.S. Snack Index, a poll focused on consumers’ snacking habits, found that eight in 10 indicated they plan many activities outside the house during Memorial Day.

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Editor & Publisher: Lukie Pieterse

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